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Coronal thick CT reconstruction: an alternative for initial chest radiography in trauma patients


It has been proposed that the imaging workup of trauma patients be accelerated by omitting the initial chest radiography (CR) and directly performing a computed tomography (CT); however, the baseline CR is then lacking. The purpose of this study was to assess if coronal thick reconstructions generated from chest CT could present an adequate alternative for CR. Sixty trauma patients underwent bedside CR and multidetector row chest CT in the emergency room. The image quality of thoracic anatomical structures, the diagnostic accuracy for chest pathology, and the depiction of indwelling devices were assessed on both modalities. Main pulmonary arteries and perihilar bronchi were equally visualized with both modalities. Central bronchi, retrocardial lung parenchyma, diaphragm, descending aorta, and vertebral pedicles were better visualized on thick CT reconstructions, whereas peripheral lung vessels were better depicted on CR (p<0.05). The accuracy to delineate various pathological findings did not differ between both modalities, except for a higher sensitivity to diagnose bronchial cuffing on CR (p<0.05). The location of indwelling devices was similarly and correctly depicted with both modalities. Coronal thick CT reconstructions provide a similar image quality and diagnostic accuracy compared with CR. These reconstructions may serve as an equivalent baseline image in trauma patients in whom emergency radiological evaluation has to be accelerated.

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This research has been supported by the National Center of Competence and Research, Computer Aided, and Image Guided Medical Interventions (NCCR CO-ME) of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

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Correspondence to Thomas Boehm.

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Alkadhi, H., Baumert, B., Wildermuth, S. et al. Coronal thick CT reconstruction: an alternative for initial chest radiography in trauma patients. Emerg Radiol 12, 3–10 (2005).

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